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Jan Belezina

Autospense medical marijuana vending machine

The Autospense vending machine by a Californian company Dispense Labs LLC is designed to allow easy access to medical marijuana for those who need it, while keeping it safely out of reach of those who merely want it. This machine is far more sophisticated than your average snack dispenser though - locks, cameras, sensors and proprietary software all add up to a high-security turnkey solution for dispensing, tracking and managing medical marijuana.  Read More

NTV Italo high speed train (Photo: NTV)

Nuovo Transporto Viaggiatori (NTV), a company founded by a group of entrepreneurs headed by the president of Ferrari, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, has unleashed twenty five luxury high-speed trains on the Italian railways. This makes NTV the first private high-speed rail network carrier in the country and the first company in the world to use the next-generation Alstom AGV trains. Although called “Italo”, the “Ferrari train” label seems to describe the racing red beasts somewhat more accurately. The thrill of traveling at high speeds in a Ferrari is soon to be available to anyone who can afford a train ticket!  Read More

Festo's SmartInversion flying object is filled with helium and uses inversion kinetics to ...

Festo, a German automation technology company that brought us, among other things, the smartbird robotic seagull and bionic flying penguins, has built a flying object unlike any we have seen. Despite the impressive biomimicry track record, this time its engineers decided to look for inspiration in the inanimate world of geometry. Based on a geometrical band first created by Swiss artist and inventor Paul Schatz, the SmartInversion is filled with helium and propels itself through the air by constantly turning itself inside out. By investigating this pulsating, rhythmical movement, called inversion, the company hopes to identify possible uses for it in technology.  Read More

A previously hairless mouse following an implantation of bioengineered hair follicles recr...

Researchers lead by Professor Takashi Tsuji from the Tokyo University of Science have successfully induced the natural hair growth and loss cycle in previously hairless mice. They have achieved this feat through the implantation of bioengineered hair follicles recreated from adult-tissue derived stem cells. While these results offer new hope for curing baldness, the work has broader implications, demonstrating the potential of using adult somatic stem cells for the bioengineering of organs for regenerative therapies.  Read More

Cheaper, non-enzymatic detergents can be used with enzyme-enhanced cleaning utensils for g...

Enzymes are catalysts that boost chemical reactions by lowering the activation energy required for the reactions to occur. Added to detergents, they help break down the dirt into smaller pieces that can be more easily removed with water. While enzymatic detergents do work better than non-enzymatic ones, they are also more expensive. But what if the enzymes could be reused? A recent study by C.S. Pundir and Nidhi Chauhan, members of The American Chemical Society, may lead to cheaper laundry days and less in the way of valuable enzymes going down the drain.  Read More

Innovega's dual-focus contact lenses allow the wearer to focus near and far at the same ti...

The iOptik display system, consisting of modified contact lenses and glasses, promises to revolutionize head-mounted display-based augmented reality by allowing the wearer to focus on two planes at the same time. Innovega, the company behind the project, developed their ultra-small form-factor head-up display (HUD) setup in frames of DARPA’s Soldier Centric Imaging via Computational Cameras (SCENICC) program, and has now signed a contract with the agency to deliver a prototype.  Read More

'Smart pebbles' are cubes about 10 millimeters to an edge, with processors and magnets bui...

Research currently underway at MIT’s Distributed Robotic Laboratory (DRL) could lead to an innovative replicative manufacturing technique with the disruptive potential equal to that of 3D printing. Imagine a sand-like material that could autonomously assemble itself into a replica of any object encased within. Incredible though this may sound, the DRL researchers have already managed to build a large scale proof-of-concept, with 10-mm cubes acting as the grains.  Read More

NASA's stunning Perpetual Ocean animation visualizes ocean currents (Image: NASA/Goddard S...

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is an unlikely entrant in the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival. Its “Perpetual World” animation may have failed to appeal to the judging committee of the 2011 edition of the competition, but it sure succeeded in catching our eye. The jaw-dropping animation visualizes the flow of surface ocean currents around the world. The raw data regarding the currents from June 2005 through to December 2007 has been turned into a work of art reminiscent of van Gogh.  Read More

Three-dimensional printing is being used to create precise robotic models of dinosaurs (Im...

Although it may seem that we know a great deal about dinosaurs, a lot of the knowledge is actually based on assumptions rather than hard facts. Often, scientists have to resort to guesswork. Some hypotheses can only be tested by manipulating a skeleton model, but that's quite a challenge if the bones you want to study belonged to an enormous animal. Also, size is not the only issue. Dinosaur fossils tend to be fragile, unique and valuable. That's why the researchers at Drexel University, who want to build precise robotic models of dinosaurs, decided to use 3D printing technology.  Read More

Enrico Dini of Monolite UK with Radiolaria - the biggest structure ever built by the D-Sha...

The growing popularity of 3D printers, such as the Printbot or MakerBot's Thing-o-Matic, testify to the fact that additive manufacturing is slowly entering the mainstream. The devices are now small enough to fit on a desk and they can make all sorts of stuff, such as toys, chess figures, or spare door knobs. But what if you want to make something slightly bigger - say, a house? Then you need to turn to Enrico Dini, the founder of Monolite UK and the inventor of the D-Shape "robotic building system."  Read More

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